Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting wants Prithvi Shaw to forfeit the practice of not batting in the nets while going through a lean phase – which was the case last season. DC play their first match of IPL 2021 on Saturday (April 11) against the Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai.
Ponting, who was appointed head coach of DC ahead of IPL 2018, revealed that he was always in conversation with Prithvi Shaw throughout last year in order to find out the right approach to guide him. However, he still didn’t sound confident of having cracked the code.
“I’ve had some really interesting chats with him through last year’s IPL, just trying to break him down, trying to find out exactly what was the right way to coach him and how I was going to get the best out of him,” Ponting told cricket.com.au before leaving for India.
Prithvi Shaw had a poor run with the bat in IPL 2020. In 13 outings, the 21-year-old managed just 228 runs at a slender average of 17.53. It was during this time Ponting took cognisance of Shaw’s “interesting theory” and how he was adamant about not deviating from it.
“But he had an interesting theory on his batting last year – when he’s not scoring runs, he won’t bat, and when he is scoring runs, he wants to keep batting all the time. He had four or five games where he made under 10 and I’m telling him, ‘We have to go to the nets and work out’, and he looked me in the eye and said, ‘No, I’m not batting today’. I couldn’t really work that out,” Ponting revealed.
Prithvi Shaw has come a long way since then, as far as his personal form is concerned. The Mumbai captain created history in the 2021 Vijay Hazare Trophy by amassing the highest-ever tally in the competition – 827 runs at an average of 165.40 from 8 innings with four hundreds and one fifty to boot.
While Ponting acknowledged Prithvi Shaw’s recent success, he is hopeful that the opener has let go of his theory.
“He might have changed. I know he’s done a lot of work over the last few months, that theory that he had might have changed, and hopefully it has, because if we can get the best out of him, he could be a superstar player,” Ponting exclaimed.
Ponting compares Prithvi Shaw to Sachin Tendulkar
Apart from being of the same build, both Prithvi Shaw and Sachin Tendulkar had blistering starts to their careers. While Sachin relied on timing and finesse, Ricky Ponting stated that Shaw relies on power. He further added that a red-hot Pirthvi Shaw will be key to helping DC get their balance right.
“He’s diminutive...in the Tendulkar mould but hits the ball incredibly powerfully off front and back foot, and plays spin really well. If we can get him to take that form that he’s just shown into the IPL, it just makes the balance on our Delhi Capitals side so good. If [the penny] does drop, I’m not sure I’ve seen many more talented players than him in my whole time of playing the game,” Ponting concluded.
The Rishabh Pant-led side will play their first three matches at the Wankhede Stadium, which is Prithvi Shaw’s home ground. Maybe he will feel more at home in IPL 2021.